Hey guys! I had a chance to check out the annual Vans Warped Tour as it came through Cincinnati, Ohio and got to catch up with some bands about their experiences and thoughts of the tour! I was able to sit down with Travis Clark of We The Kings, Christofer Drew of NeverShoutNever, Stephen Gomez of The Summer Set, as well as Matt Barnes and Chris Miller of UK band You Me At Six.
First thoughts when you were told your band was on Warped Tour?
Travis (WTK): It was actually a couple years ago, because this is our third year of Warped Tour. I remember telling the rest of the band that I thought they were lying! It was cool because we had gone to Warped Tour as kids and we never really had money growing up so we had to sneak in and make fake tour passes just to get in to watch our favorite bands. So when we got the call and they were like “Hey, you guys don’t have to do that anymore. You’re playing,” it was kind of a surreal moment. We got really excited and started looking at all the other bands we were going to be playing with and started kind of getting all school girlish, like happy.
Christofer (NSN): OH YEAH.
Stephen (TSS): I was excited because I went to it growing up and always looked forward to it. I was excited to be a part of it and play the tour.
Matt (YMAS): Oh God. No, I’m joking, we were really excited to be on this year’s Warped Tour. It’s one of the best to be on in the whole of the state so we are really privileged to be on it.
Chris (YMAS): Having friends on the tour is also a plus, cause it’s great to be able to hang out with them every day.
Many people refer to Warped Tour as a “summer camp”. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Travis (WTK): Yeah, it’s definitely the punk rock summer camp that everyone talks about! It’s like a ton of your friends doing crazy things like having barbeques, playing music and Frisbee. It’s like all the things that happen at a summer camp but put the music element into it and that’s exactly what it is. There’s no zip line or blob or anything into a lake, but I love it. The camaraderie between all the bands is what makes this tour different from anything else.
Christofer (NSN): Yeah! I mean, it’s like a traveling summer camp. You wake up every day, you go to catering, you go and get showers down in the shower bin and it’s a lot like summer camp. I went to a lot of summer camps as a kid and it definitely reminds me of it. It’s cool.
Stephen (TSS): Yeah definitely. It kind of feels like you’re at camp. You’re dirty all of the time and you never get to shower. You get thrown into situations of meeting new people constantly. It’s kind of like summer camp meets high school. There’s cliques and stuff. It’s interesting.
Chris (YMAS): I agree with it, yeah. Because everyone is on the tour so long you gain a little family type of thing. It’s this big whole family environment and it seems like you’ve been dropped off by your parents at some crazy summer camp. It just involves way more beer and partying.
What has been your best experience so far on this tour?
Travis (WTK): I don’t know…hmm. Well, we got to actually film a music video during the tour which is something we’ve never done before. Usually we film videos before or after tours when we have time to sit down and think. So we filmed the video on Warped Tour and we used settings in the Warped Tour and stuff like that. I think that was kind of like a unique experience for us to complete. We saw it back and it’s like really good. We’re stoked.
Christofer (NSN): Right now. This interview!
Stephen (TSS): The shows. I mean, that’s why we’re here. To play. There is nothing better than playing a show.
Matt (YMAS): Being fully clothed. You have a coat and shoes on some nights and that’s definitely an experience.
Chris (YMAS): We have a song in our set that random people come out every day and sing. It’s pretty funny having twenty five different people coming out and doing that during the tour.
Matt (YMAS): Yeah, and even if they can’t sing they’ll still come out and do it and we’ll all just laugh while everyone else is like “What’s so funny?”
What has been your worst experience?
Travis (WTK): Worst experience? Probably the porta-potties. They get really, really hot inside and I feel like the sun is just like cooking the poop, you know? So even when you go in just to like wash your hands you try and be as quick as you possibly can because I feel like it’s toxic… That’s the worst part.
Christofer (NSN): I think when I hurt my foot. I hurt my foot about two and a half weeks back. That sucked and I had to go to the hospital. I was on crutches for a couple days.
Stephen (TSS): The heat, I guess? Not showering for like…eight days. Yeah, that sucks. And the heat.
Matt (YMAS): Worst experience? Hmm… playing in places like Arizona where it’s extremely hot. And getting out of bed in the morning and being told you’re playing in an hour.
Chris (YMAS): Not being able to shower all the time and feeling dirty twenty four seven.
What do you think the biggest difference is between Warped Tour and a regular tour?
Travis (WTK): The biggest difference is obviously, this is an outside festival so the heat is something the bands will touch on in every single interview really. But I’m a Florida boy so I guess for me the biggest difference would be that on a club tour you play inside venues and even if you play during the day, the sun can’t get to you. Since I’m a red head, on these outdoor festivals I have to be very weary of where the sun is at all times because it likes to sun burn me. The sun and I don’t have a good relationship on Warped Tour because it’s always really hot and I look like a lobster.
Christofer (NSN): Warped Tour is a lot more work. It’s a lot more intense and a lot more pushing of gear. So many different types of music too so you get a lot of haters. There are a lot of hardcore kids and a lot of pop kids so the kind of clash sometimes.
Stephen (TSS): The one thing I’ve noticed is different is that you wake up every single day and it seems like you’re in the same place. You wake up in a big parking lot somewhere and they all just kind of look the same which I don’t really like very much. When you do club tours and tours in the van you get to actually see stuff. Like you get to see cities and you get to see the country. This tour I haven’t seen anything except for parking lots. And dust. And a sea of buses. I don’t really like that.
Chris (YMAS): The amount of bands. There’s like a randomness of it like you never know when you’re going to play until you wake up that morning. In a normal tour you play the same time every single day, you know where everyone else is going to be playing. Warped Tour, you just wake up and it’s a gamble every day.
Your favorite thing about Warped Tour?
Travis (WTK): Favorite thing about Warped Tour…probably the catering. You know, when you’re on a normal tour you kind of just eat whatever is there and it’s usually unhealthy. The catering at Warped Tour is insane. It’s like good, good for you and it tastes amazing. It’s something different every single day with the exception of Sunday. Sunday is “Sunday Brunch” so when it’s lunch time and you go to catering it’s always breakfast food which is amazing. I love food a lot.
Christofer (NSN): I think the food. Probably.
Stephen (TSS): Catering is pretty good. Playing shows, again, that’s why we do this.
Matt (YMAS): The hangouts, the barbeques and stuff, the nighttime. It’s a lot of fun because a lot of our friends are on it. We get to just hang out.
How do you think you’re going to feel once the tour is over?
Travis (WTK): Probably how I do now. We don’t get to do the entire tour; we hop off August 2nd, so definitely really bummed because you aren’t going to be able to hang out for the rest of summer camp with your friends. I don’t know. You’re excited to have spent those days out on Warped Tour but as soon as you get home you’re like “Man, I really wish I was out on Warped Tour.” Then you start seeing everybody’s twitter posts and like facebook and all this stuff like “Oh, loving the last few days of Warped!” and you’re like “Oh, I wish I was there…”
Christofer (NSN): Really stoked as fuck. I’m ready to go home. I miss my home, I miss my mama.
Stephen (TSS): Really happy. I want to go home. I’m just at the point where we have a couple weeks left and I always get to that six week mark whenever we get on tour and I’m just like “Ugh.” I really want to sleep in my bed and just hang out with my friends. And take a shower. If you would have talked to me like two weeks ago, I probably would have had a different answer, but right now I just want to go home.
Matt (YMAS): I think we’re going to feel…slightly relieved.
Chris (YMAS): It drains you because it’s such a long tour. You kind of go in and out of phases of loving it and being like so tired and so dirty that you just want to go home. I know it flies by and when you get the last week you’re actually quite sad to leave. You’ve just made so many friends so it’s just like a giant goodbye. So… we’re sad to go. You get home and you don’t know what to do with yourself.
Check out the rest of the tour on the remaining dates.